I hope this is the right spot to ask this question. I find every time I think I have an elegant solution to modeling something, one day I’m browsing on the forum and someone has a better one.

I’m about to model this polyethylene net material in order to get an accurate surface area measurement so that I can calculate the surface area per square feet. It looks like this:

As far as can tell, this is made from strands of plastic that are a consistent diameter which are then pressed together to form the netting material. So the volume of the material is consistent with the total length of the strands, but the surface area will be modified by the overlap and the slight amount of bulge where the strands overlap.

I would probably approximate the mesh and then use SubD to smooth it and then get the surface area, but I bet there are better ways!